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CLARK FREEPORT, Philippines – The Commission on Audit (COA) flagged Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC) for contract-splitting and overpricing the procurement of 22 laptop computers in August and December 2022.
In a report sent to Rappler, 10 laptops were purchased for P800,000 through a competitive bidding. However, a second batch with 12 laptops were bought via “shopping” at P960,000.
The 12 Lenovo IdeaPad Slim units were purchased without public bidding and priced excessively at P79,770 each unit which were fully delivered and paid in January, the report stated.
COA said the review of the approved final annual procurement plan for calendar year 2022 revealed that the estimated budget of P1.76 million for the computers was split into two projects.
Splitting of contracts is prohibited under Section 54.1 of the revised implementing rules and regulations of Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act.
“Review of the approved final annual procurement plan for calendar year 2022 revealed that the estimated budget of P1.76 million for the procurement of laptop, desktop computers was split into two projects,” the audit team said.
COA requested quotations from three “bonafide” suppliers of the Clark Development Corporation based on the specifications provided by CIAC to validate the procurement price.
The auditors learned that all three suppliers submitted the prices per unit range between P17,770 to P20,470. CIAC could have saved between P213,240 to P245,640, the audit team said.
COA added that the chosen supplier, RGW Computer Trading, was newly registered under the Bureau of Internal Revenue in February 2022 and had no actual store.
“The corporation did not obtain the most advantageous price for the government, resulting in foregone savings, inclusive of a three-year premium care warranty for parts and services which was way better than the one-year warranty offered by RGW Computer Trading,” said COA.
“The chosen supplier had no brick and mortar store and the declared business address was actually the supplier’s residence aside from being only a few months old at the time of the award of the contract having registered with the Bureau of Internal Revenue only on February 9, 2022.”
The auditors also learned that each laptop used Microsoft Office Home and Student 2021 software which violates Microsoft’s license terms on commercial, non-profit or revenue-generating activity.
The report stated that the CIAC president and chief executive officer agreed to “cause the refund of P230,820 by responsible officials and employees for the overpriced transaction that was deemed excessive expenditure.”
Rappler reached out to CIAC officials. However, they refused to elaborate.
Arrey Perez is the current CIAC president and CEO. He was appointed in September 2023. – Rappler.com